Music fans may not recognize Andy Earl’s name, but they’re probably well-acquainted with his work.
The photographer’s imaginative concepts and attention to detail have captured the personas of artists ranging from Prince (royally introducing himself with an outstretched hand on the cover of Q magazine in 1994) to Johnny Cash (in the dusty, road-weary pose that graced the cover of his American Recordings album).
Seventy-nine of Earl’s most acclaimed photos have been assembled in “Vista,” a coffee-table book hitting stores January 15. Within its pages are instantly recognizable shots that have been used for album covers (Pink Floyd’s lightbulb-laden Delicate Sound of Thunder and the Cranberries’ eye-in-the-sky Bury the Hatchet, among others), in advertising campaigns, art galleries and magazine layouts.
Coinciding with the book’s release, the London lensman will be the subject of a photo exhibit at Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum from January 15 to 19. Among the photos on display will be images of Madonna, Jon Bon Jovi, Courtney Love, the Bee Gees, Elton John, Sting and the Rolling Stones — not all of which are included in the book. Earl will be on hand to autograph copies of “Vista” on January 19.
The 45-year-old Earl had been taking photographs professionally for a few years before Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren commissioned him in 1981 to shoot his latest creation, new-wave group Bow Wow Wow. Rolling Stone declared Earl’s first attempt at album cover art, Bow Wow Wow’s See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang Yeah! City All Over! Go Ape Crazy!, one of the top 30 album covers of the past 25 years.
Earl was also responsible for the covers of the U.K.’s best-selling albums of the past three years: 1997’s Life Thru a Lens by Robbie Williams, 1998’s This Is My Truth, Tell Me Yours by the Manic Street Preachers, and 1999’s Boyzone … By Request.
Images of Madonna, Alanis Morissette, R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe, Mick Jagger and the Red Hot Chili Peppers also appear in “Vista.”